SRS Blog > Building a garden railway competition

Published 3rd March 2007

I do some foolish things now and again (and probably more frequently as the years pass) and have been suffering recently from the consequences of a rather rash challenge I made.

At the end of last year, Jayne and I went up to visit friends who had recently moved to Scotland. I'm sure there are lots of good reasons to move to Scotland, but the main motivation behind this move was to get a lump of land big enough to build a serious garden railway on. This they have achieved in fine style, a couple of acres of beautiful woodland, bisected by a shallow, fast flowing river which rounds a bend at the corner of the property and disappears under a stone bridge carrying the village road past their front door. We spent a most pleasant weekend walking around the estate, in our mind's eye already seeing the new girder bridge over the river, the engine shed and sidings at the top end where ballast and materials could be trans-shipped from the road, the small stone-built Victorian workshop ideal for conversion into the Dumfries version of Boston Lodge. Then came my stupid moment...

Over a beer (or three) on the Saturday night, we each started talking about how quickly we would get on with our respective railways (you may remember that the Metheringham Light Railway has been in prospect, although with precious little real progress, since we moved up here two years ago). Upshot was an agreement, solemnly witnessed by the ladies present, that we would each email the other on the first of the month with progress to date - photographic evidence required. Three months in, it's getting embarrassing thinking up excuses (on both sides, thank God - if he'd got his railway down by now I'd have to emigrate). I'm still hopeful that the arrangement will eventually lead to two railways being built through shame if nothing else.

My pitiful attempt at claiming progress this month involved sending a picture of a recently acquired ballast truck sitting on the (only) piece of track laid out side the engine shed and trying to pass it off as only one part of an almost constant succession of works trains. Sadly didn't work, he's too smart to be fobbed off that easily.
However, in a spirit of "double or quits" type bravado, I hereby pledge to post pictures on future news pages of progress (on either side, his or my railway) until one or both is either finished (the railways) or died of old age (the would-be builders).